Schools across the country took a hit in attendance Thursday as immigrant children joined nationwide protests intended to demonstrate what life would be like without the nation’s more than 42 million immigrants in response to President Trump’s controversial immigration agenda.
New York is poised to make it significantly easier to become a teacher — though their plans are on ice for a month.
The state’s education policymakers were set to vote on a major change to teacher certification requirements on Monday that would have walked back a controversial effort to make the teaching profession more selective. Winter weather won out, canceling the meeting.
The votes may happen in March but education department officials said it’s too early to have a finalized agenda. Here’s what we know.
The level of trust that middle school students of color have for their teachers could have long-term impacts on whether or not they enroll in college, according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.
Republican-backed legislation that would overhaul collective bargaining for public employees in Iowa could open the door for sweeping changes in the state’s public schools.
To understand the landmark McCleary school-funding case, and a big reason why state lawmakers are struggling to reach a final settlement, you have to understand something called TRI pay.
TRI, which stands for additional time, responsibility and incentive, is a big chunk of local money originally intended to pay teachers for extras like serving as a high-school department chair or staying after school to tutor struggling students.
Several years ago, two public schools in Michigan became teacher-powered—meaning, teachers have the autonomy to make decisions about what goes on with school operations. After that transition, one of the main areas the educators reevaluated was grading.
Typically, teachers spend hours outside of school grading assignments. What would happen if that task was outsourced?
After a bruising confirmation process and a Senate vote on Tuesday largely divided along party lines, Republican mega-donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos is the new U.S. secretary of education.
In her first public communication as secretary, DeVos signaled that school choice would be a paramount concern:
Nearly 63 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case kick-started racial integration in schools — and six decades after a group of African-American students had to be escorted by federal troops as they desegregated Little Rock’s Central High School — students nationwide are taught by an overwhelmingly white workforce. Even as the proportion of black, Latino, Asian, Indian, African and other “non-white” students grows inexorably, the teachers these children encounter are nearly all white. And the racial mismatch, in many places, is getting worse.
No one knows why the job postings went viral. As in previous years, the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) was simply trying to fill its vacant positions. Sure, there were 1,600 of them, but that wasn’t unheard of. The incentives it was offering, especially for special education teachers in Hawaii’s public schools, weren’t out of the ordinary, either.
In a story about higher graduation rates for students in career and technical education programs, one source tells Natalie Pate of the Statesman Journal that while math or English may not be students’ favorite classes, “they are more willing to put in the time and do the work” because they can see the relationship between what they are learning and the projects they work on.
Last summer, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics convened a meeting of education deans from Hispanic-serving institutions across the country to brainstorm ideas for getting more Latinos into the teaching profession. The group recently released a white paper with their recommendations — among them a challenge to recognize and remove implicit bias in education.
President Trump’s verdict on American schools in his inaugural address Friday was harsh: America, he said, has “an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” But the United States really does spend much more per student than most developed countries, only to see disappointing results in return — something plenty of presidents have pointed out.
An ongoing audit of Metro Nashville Public Schools discovered more than 140 educators who needed to renew teaching licenses, one of numerous issues raised in the review.
About 40 of those teachers are still working to renew their licenses, though they are not yet out of compliance.
The educators that don’t finish the process of renewing their licenses with the Tennessee Department of Education will be ineligible to work in the district.
The Florida Supreme Court said Wednesday it would not take up the case challenging the state’s largest school voucher program, ending the teachers union’s three-year battle to have it declared unconstitutional. The Tax-Credit Scholarship Program provides private school tuition vouchers to low-income students. More than 97,000 Florida students are in it this school year, including more than 19,000 in Central Florida.
Six years ago, the Public Education Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, launched Project Inspire to train middle and high school math and science teachers by placing them in classrooms of highly effective teachers for a full school year. After the residency year, Project Inspire graduates are expected to spend at least four years teaching in one of Hamilton County’s struggling schools.
The project plans to rapidly grow — doubling the number of residents in the program next year, training 25 aspiring teachers. In 2018, it hopes to have 50 residents.
Ten thousand dollars will buy you a lot in Gaffney.
It’s a down payment on a house. It’s half of the per-capita income in the area.
And it’s what the Cherokee County School District is willing to pay as a signing bonus for a certified teacher.
More districts and states are enacting rules to monitor school water safety. “The action is an acknowledgment that the largely voluntary testing system present in most of the country isn’t sufficient,” writes Stacy Teicher Khadaroo for The Christian Science Monitor.
Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle of Higher Education with an important insight into the likely education secretary under Trump: “Ms. DeVos shows her belief in developing civil society through the contributions of individual citizens rather than government.”
The Florida Department of Education is rewarding 131 Manatee teachers with bonuses of $6,816 each this spring as recipients of the state’s Best and Brightest Scholarship Program. The controversial program will distribute roughly $49 million to 7,188 teachers who had high college-entrance SAT or ACT scores and were rated “highly effective” in their annual teacher evaluation.
National teachers unions are mounting an aggressive campaign against Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, arguing that she is an ideological extremist with a record of undermining the public schools her department would oversee. The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the nation, is mobilizing teachers to call and email their senators, urging a vote against DeVos’s confirmation.
Programs put aspiring teachers in classrooms from the start to improve training, reduce turnover and help districts overcome shortages in qualified faculty.
We all experience stress at work, no matter the job. But for teachers, the work seems to be getting harder and the stress harder to shake.
A new report out this month pulls together some stark numbers on this:
Forty-six percent of teachers say they feel high daily stress. That’s on par with nurses and physicians. And, roughly half of teachers agree with this statement: “The stress and disappointments involved in teaching at this school aren’t really worth it.”
It’s a problem for all of us — not just these unhappy teachers.
To Attract Great Teachers, School Districts Must Improve Their Human Capital Systems
Center for American Progress
To succeed in today’s economy, organizations must capitalize on the skills, knowledge, abilities, and experience of their employees. Research shows that investments in human capital improve organizational performance—including team effectiveness, employee retention, and innovation—in both the private and public sectors. In other words, companies that attract and develop strong employees by prioritizing recruiting, investing in professional growth opportunities, and building positive workplace cultures tend to have greater efficiency and better outcomes.
Teachers in Fresno, California, and Des Moines, Iowa, have come out against their districts’ efforts to reform how students are disciplined. Teachers in Indianapolis and New York City registered similar complaints earlier this year. Teachers are arguing that efforts to change student-disciplinary practices—largely in an attempt to address big racial disparities in who gets suspended and expelled—are making their classrooms harder to manage.
In just six months, the statewide teacher shortage has forced Oklahoma public schools to shatter their previous record of hiring underqualified individuals as classroom teachers.
But with no end to the shortage in sight, Tulsa Public Schools has a new plan for converting what some view as liabilities into assets.
This company trains schools how to respond to active shooter attacks, reports Dan Carsen for WBHM. Unlike other training, this group, which has partnered with 3,700 districts, encourages staff and students to fight back.
A heartwarming tale or a case study in picking favorites? Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel examines the merits of a Florida university absorbing a bionics company and the worries other firms have about an unfair competitive environment.
Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel investigates how Orange County school board members spent $500,000 of taxpayer money over the last two years. “One board member paid $2,500 for a school mural that depicts herself,” she writes.
Starting in January, Portland Community College will teach a specially designed curriculum for nursing students left stranded by the closure of the for-profit ITT Technical Institute earlier this year, Andrew Theen reports for The Oregonian.
On Thursday, the National Council on Teacher Quality released its review of 875 traditional undergraduate programs preparing elementary teachers in 396 public and 479 private colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The conclusion? Education schools still have work to do, but they are making needed improvements to the way they train teachers.
David Roberts, a 75-year-old substitute teacher, went to work last month at Clovis West High wearing a Black Lives Matter button on his shirt pocket. A day later, he was told that he was no longer allowed to work at the school.
“They said it was a violation of their policy of being neutral regarding political issues, but I don’t consider it a political statement. It is a moral statement,” Roberts said. “I was very surprised because I didn’t think it was a violation of anything.”
This Asian island roughly the size of Austin has dominated international rankings in education, with students regularly outperforming their peers in math, science and literacy.
Singapore officials say the key to that success was simple: Hire only the best teachers.
“Teaching is akin to nation building. It’s about survival,” said Ee Ling Low, a professor to aspiring teachers at the country’s National Institute of Education.
Xavier University has joined forces with a nonprofit group at the forefront of the New Orleans charter school movement to create a first-of-its-kind “residency” program intended to diversify the city’s public school teaching force. The program will primarily recruit Xavier University seniors and recent graduates, many of whom have ties to the community. It is the first such partnership in the country between charter schools and a historically black college or university.
A state senator’s bid to expand parental rights to information about their students is drawing spirited criticism from educators and LGBT activists who argue it does not protect students at risk of abuse if teachers or school officials out them to their families.
Working long hours, (Anthony) Boccia—known at Valley High as Mr. Tony—is learning how to run his classroom via trial and error, one day at a time. At this point, his teaching methods may be more grounded in instinct than formal training: Boccia is not a fully licensed teacher—not yet at least. While he previously subbed in several classrooms in Las Vegas’s Clark County School District to make ends meet while working toward his Ph.D. in business, the only formal preparation he’s had to become a teacher was a semiweekly fast-track training program last summer.
In the two weeks since Republican Donald Trump won the presidency on a platform touting stricter immigration laws and mass deportations, Los Angeles leaders have taken steps to assure the immigrants within their borders that the city supports them.
A child’s race, ethnicity, and immigrant status could determine whether a teacher reaches out to that student’s parents, a new study out of New York University has found.
Time for Action Building the Educator Workforce Our Children Need Now
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
States are now deeply engaged in developing plans for their federal education spending for the next several years. Decades of experience and education research indicate that states must strengthen and organize the educator workforce to implement change successfully. Now is the time to rethink systems and strategies and to focus funds and efforts on what matters most for learning: great teachers and leaders for every student and school.
Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide
Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
Systemic challenges in the educator workforce require thoughtful and bold actions, and ESSA presents a unique opportunity for states to reaffirm, modify, or improve their vision of educator effectiveness. This GTL Center discussion guide focuses on one challenge that states face as part of this work: defining ineffective teacher in the absence of highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements.
North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district has taken big — and somewhat controversial — steps toward diversifying its schools, Ann Doss Helms reports for The Charlotte Observer.
Teachers of Low-Income Students Are Nearly as Effective as Teachers of High-Income Students
Mathematica Policy Research
Although children from wealthier families outperform children from poorer families on achievement tests, a new study from Mathematica Policy Research finds that teachers of low-income students are nearly as effective as teachers of high-income students, on average.
In Texas school districts, it’s often the men who are calling the shots. Shelby Webb of The Houston Chronicle explores why it’s the case that in a state where three out of four teachers are women, only one of five superintendents are female. Click here to bypass the story’s paywall.
Craig Brock teaches high school science in Amarillo, Texas, where his freshman biology students are currently learning about the parts of a cell. But since many of them are refugee children who have only recently arrived in the U.S. and speak little or no English, Brock often has to get creative.
Usually that means creating PowerPoint presentations full of pictures and “just kind of pulling from here and there,” he said — the Internet, a third grade textbook or a preschool homeschool curriculum from Sam’s Club, for example.
When schools consultant Tequilla Banks considers how best to ensure America’s low-income and minority students have access to effective teaching, her personal history is a helpful guide. Growing up in Arkansas, Banks witnessed first-hand how educational accountability can work – or not work, as the case may be — when state governments call the shots.
What she saw left her thankful for federal government intervention.
Black and Latino teachers may be minorities in the U.S. educator workforce, but a new study finds they also may be the most effective — at least according to their students.
In an article for Harper’s Magazine, “Held Back: Battling for the Fate of a School District,” Alexandria Neason digs into the financial and racial turmoil facing Detroit’s public schools.
As the University of West Florida seeks a new president, students want to know whether their next leader will support the Black Lives Matter movement, Jessica Bakeman writes for Politico.
In 2007, while writing about military recruiting at high schools, I met a fresh-faced JROTC cadet who planned to enlist after graduation. His older brother was already serving in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The student, who was a seventh grader when the hijacked airplanes struck, eventually joined the Army and followed his brother to war.
A tribal school in Puyallup, Washington, is no longer accepting students who are not registered with a Native American tribe, meaning many children who intended to return to the K-12 campus this school year will have to seek an education elsewhere, Debbie Cafazzo of The News Tribune reports.
Recent news stories once again have shined a spotlight on the troubling issue of teacher misconduct. Consider these headlines:
The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.
See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.
Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.
When Edgar Ríos was one of 126 students in the first class of a new charter school in Chicago in 1999, almost all of his teachers were white.
They were good teachers, he says. His favorite, though, was a teacher “who could speak Spanish with my mother and father, so I didn’t have to translate.”
Margarita is a four-year-old girl living in East Harlem. She speaks Spanish at home with her Mexican-born parents, is obedient, well-behaved and plays well with kids her age, younger and older.
Young Latinos who are not proficient in English are more likely to develop higher early literacy skills when their teachers are also Latino, according to a University of Virginia study released this week examining the teacher-student racial gap in pre-K.
In early May at Match Public Charter School in Boston, 18 freshmen are preparing to discuss themes from “Lord of the Flies.” Their English teacher is Ashley Davis, a 26-year-old native of Cincinnati who’s in her second year of teaching, but acts like a veteran.
Davis will soon have her students explaining the biblical allusions in the 1954 novel and debating whether mankind is naturally good or evil.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
The fourth grade students sit on a carpet, wriggling, shaking their hands, looking in all directions as a teacher uses the most basic of tools — a red sharpie and a big white pad — to deliver her lesson.
The day’s agenda: teaching the Common Core standard of finding “whole number quotients.” She writes an equation on the board, and the answer works out to be 100. But she’s not done.
TO THE 11- and 12-year-olds in his maths class, Jimmy Cavanagh seems like a born teacher. He is warm but firm. His voice is strong. Correct answers make him smile. And yet it is not his pep that explains why his pupils at North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey, can expect to go to university, despite 80% of their families needing help to pay for school meals.
“Diversity — (noun) the state of being diverse; variety”
Examining the Validity of Ratings from a Classroom Observation Instrument for Use in a District’s Teacher Evaluation System
This validation study examined principals’ evaluation ratings of teachers made on an instrument adapted from the Danielson Framework for Teaching and used in the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada in 2012/13. Principals used a four-point rating scale to rate teachers on 22 teaching components. The teaching components were expected to measure four different dimensions of teaching.
National record-keeping on teacher misconduct is inconsistent and incomplete, allowing those accused of malpractice to move into teaching jobs in other school districts that are unaware of the charges. Even some convictions may slip through the cracks.
How do you get the best teachers in front of the students who need them the most? It’s an issue getting increased attention, but a tough problem to solve.
Here’s a quick quiz. Rate the following statements on a scale from one to five, with one meaning you totally disagree and five meaning you wholeheartedly agree:
Beginners and experts essentially think in the same way.
Most people are either left-brained or right-brained.
Students learn more when information is tailored to their unique learning styles.
For every savant who’s skilled enough to ditch class and still ace the course, many more who miss school fall way behind, increasing their odds of dropping out or performing poorly.
The implications are major: If a school has a high number of students repeatedly absent, there’s a good chance other troubles are afoot. Feeling uninspired in the classroom, poor family outreach, or struggles at students’ homes are just some of the root causes of absenteeism, experts say.
How fair are controversial new tests being used by some states to certify teachers? Who are the prospective classroom educators struggling the most with the often costly, time-consuming process? And how might this impact efforts to diversify nation’s predominantly white, female, teacher workforce?
Writer Peggy Barmore of The Hechinger Report discusses these issues with EWA public editor Emily Richmond.
In the winter of 2015, the Center on Education Policy surveyed a nationally representative sample of public school teachers to learn their views on the teaching profession, state standards and assessments, testing, and teacher evaluations.
The report, Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, summarizes these survey findings, including responses indicating that public school teachers are concerned and frustrated with shifting policies, over emphasis on student testing, and their lack of voice in decision-making.
In the dozen years that Angela Duckworth has researched the concept of grit, she’s found new ways to test its validity, identified examples of it in popular culture, and worked to bust myths about its application in schools. But she hasn’t developed a just-add-water curriculum package that interested schools can use to develop the character trait in their students.
Cara Fitzpatrick was in labor when her husband – and colleague at the Tampa Bay Times – asked her “So what can you tell me about segregation in Pinellas County?”
The paper had just decided to do a large-scale investigation into the district’s schools that were serving predominately low-income, black students. Two years later, Fitzpatrick’s son is walking and talking and she and the rest of the team have earned a Pulitzer Prize for their series Failure Factories.
Update: On May 2, “Failure Factories” won the $10,000 Hechinger Grand Prize in the EWA National Awards for Education Reporting.
The Pulitzer Prize for local reporting this year went to the Tampa Bay Times for an exhaustive investigation into how a handful of elementary schools in Pinellas County wound up deeply segregated by race, poverty, and opportunity.
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to email@example.com.
Word on the Beat: Equity
A principal served four years and two months in prison for attempted murder. Another pleaded guilty to embezzling $73,033 in electronics from his school. One teacher struck a student, and several others were accused of misconduct involving students.
All of these individuals surrendered or lost their teaching license, and each of them was later reinstated by Mississippi’s commission responsible for disciplining educators.
In her large, bright, pre-K classroom, the teacher turned to the group of 4-year-olds learning how to give a baby a bath. She sat on the carpet and cradled a doll carefully as eager students strained their necks to watch.
“How am I holding the baby?” the teacher, Alina Kaye, asked, and then answered her own question: “Nice and calm.” She held up a small, empty plastic bottle and mimed squirting shampoo onto the baby’s head. The kids edged closer.
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter chooses a buzzword or phrase that You Need to Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Word on the Beat: Vergara
When Yehimi Cambron crossed the U.S. border from Mexico with her parents, they told her she would not have documented legal status in this country. But as a third-grader, she had no concept of how that would affect her.
It wasn’t until she was 15 and denied a $50 prize in an art competition because she didn’t have a Social Security number that she grasped its meaning.
Student reporters — some as young as 10 years old — are reporting on the race to the White House. But amid incidents of violence at recent rallies for Republican front-runner Donald Trump, some people are wondering whether it’s time to take the junior journalists off the campaign trail.
When President Obama leaves office in January, there will be no shortage of big-name corporations and Ivy League universities clamoring for his skills. But in a recent essay for The New Yorker Magazine, contributor Cinque Henderson — a former writer for Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” — suggests President Obama consider teaching at a historically black college or university (HBCU), community college, or even an urban high school.
High-achieving countries share some common practices when it comes to the recruitment, training and development of public-school teachers, according to experts at a recent Education Writers Association event.
A few years ago in Singapore, teachers in a high school English department posed a question: Would having students conduct live debates on an issue before they wrote persuasive essays about it result in more highly developed final papers?
Steve Reilly, an investigative reporter and data specialist for USA Today, talks with EWA public editor about his newspaper’s groundbreaking year-long project examining shortfalls in how states track, and share information, about teacher discipline and licensing issues.
In the past quarter-century, Wendy Kopp’s idea for putting new college graduates to work in high-need public schools has grown from her undergraduate thesis project at Princeton into a $300 million organization responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting thousands of new teachers every year. Along the way, Teach For America has generated criticism even as it’s become a mainstay in many of the nation’s larger school districts.
What started as Princeton University senior Wendy Kopp’s undergraduate thesis is now has a $300 million operating budget and 40,000 alumni.
The approach has been misinterpreted by some to mean simply praising effort.
But that’s misunderstanding the thinking behind a growth mindset, Dweck said. Telling students, “Keep trying; you can do it,” doesn’t work, she said. Teachers instead should ask students these questions: “What strategies have you tried? What will you try next?” “It’s not just effort,” Dweck said. “You need strategies.”
As districts face the recurring problem of ensuring every student has access to a high-quality teacher, a growing number have begun to proactively form deep, mutually beneficial partnerships with teacher preparation programs to produce teacher candidates who match their specific needs. These partnerships, when done well, take significant time and resources on behalf of both parties, but have the ability to transform the work of both institutions.
A new study finds that black students with the same test scores as white students are still less likely to be selected for gifted and talented academic programs in elementary schools.
When we think of elementary and secondary schools, many of us picture students in classrooms taught by lone teachers, overseen by a principal. In reality, many adults work in schools other than teachers and principals. It may be surprising to learn that there are as many non-teaching adults as there are teachers in U.S. public schools. These adults play roles from supporting students with special needs to coaching teachers to community outreach to maintaining facilities.
When Exxon Mobil, GE, Intel, and others pushed for the education standards, they incurred the wrath of Tea Party conservatives and got a painful lesson in modern politics.
Demands for accountability have finally arrived at the doorsteps of teacher colleges. Helping to spur the change are a controversial Government Accountability Office report on teacher-preparation programs released over the summer, and forthcoming federal regulations intended to hold them accountable for how graduates perform in the classroom.
Intelligent and creative use of data in K-12 education is a driving force behind efforts to use digital curricula and assessments to personalize learning. Data use can be the difference maker in understanding individual students’ strengths and weaknesses. But the expanded, more sophisticated use of data has opened the doors wider for potential problems, especially regarding the privacy of student information.
With most schools closed until after the New Year, the holidays can be a dry spell on the education beat. But there’s no shortage of ideas for creative reporters who are willing to venture into less-familiar territory.
Since 2009, Teach Plus has worked to recruit and prepare teachers to take on teacher-leadership roles in their schools, districts, and states.
For already struggling students in high-poverty schools, frequent turnover among their teachers – and an over-reliance on substitutes – can hurt achievement.
Faced with massive budget cuts in the wake of the recession, many Idaho school districts switched to a four-day weekly calendar. But more than seven years into the experiment, an investigation by Idaho Education News – lead by reporter Kevin Richert — found little evidence that the schedule change improved either student achievement or the fiscal outlook of cash-strapped districts.
As the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” plays out over the music video, the lyrics are a bit different:
“We will make mistakes…our method’s gonna break…not a piece of cake…we’re gonna shake it off, shake it off…”
It was in this video Stanford University Professor and author Jo Boaler says she was compelled to do something she didn’t want to do. “They made me rap,” she said. When her undergraduate students challenged whether she had a growth mindset about her rhyme skills, Boaler said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to rap.”
The school’s computer-based approach could be replicated across the state if education reformers appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal get their way. There’s no conclusive evidence that it works better than traditional methods, but there is a growing group of proponents in other states. Many wonder whether it will prove too expensive, widening the gap between schools that can and cannot afford it, but advocates say it doesn’t have to be costly.
This Statistics in Brief describes the percentages of public schools that reported that they had teaching vacancies and subject areas with difficult-to-staff teaching positions in the 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12 school years.
Predicting teacher “shortages,” evidently, is much like forecasting the apocalypse. It’s best to go into the enterprise with a flexible time frame.
“There was always a ‘shortage’ of 2 million teachers, and it loomed a year or two ahead. It seemed to keep getting pushed further and further back,” said Steve Drummond, the senior education editor at NPR News, who has heard diagnoses of a shortage since the 1990s.
Alternative routes to teacher certification have grown rapidly over the last three decades, with more programs popping up all over the country. At EWA’s recent seminar in Chicago, three leaders in the field of teacher preparation discussed the implications this widening path will have on traditional teachers’ colleges and what lessons they might glean from their newer counterparts.
State Capacity to Support School Turnaround
Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools. 38 states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013.
Coming off a successful initiative to get legal driving privileges for undocumented immigrants in Delaware, a Latino activist group in the first state has now turned its attention to education.
When a group of Harvard educators surveyed ninth-grade teachers and their students during a recent experiment, they found students who had common interests with their teachers started to perform better academically. The improvements were especially remarkable among black and Latino students.
Public school parents generally support standardized testing but think there’s too much of it, according to a new from Education Post, a nonprofit communications firm led by former Obama administration education official Peter Cunningham.
When asked how the test results should be used, 65 percent of the responding parents said helping students should be the top priority. Only 21 percent wanted test results to be a tool for identifying ineffective teachers.
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has launched a digital campaign to highlight the impact of Latino teachers and hopefully to attract more Latinos to the teaching profession.
Nationally, the number of minority teachers is increasing, but it’s not keeping pace with student demographics, concludes a new report issued by a union-affiliated think tank. The gap in parity between minority teachers and minority students remains wide. And that’s particularly true for African-American kids in nine large urban districts, according to the researchers’ findings.
Across the country, an improving economy has pulled teachers and potential teachers away from the profession, creating a growing national shortage. In California, where the number of teacher credentials issued declined 26 percent from the 2009-10 academic year to 2013-14, competition for qualified teachers is particularly stiff. Enrollment in teacher preparation programs here is down even more according to the same report: 55 percent just from 2009 to 2013.
It’s easy to get cynical about back-to-school stories – especially when you’ve been an education reporter for many years. But it’s important to remember that for many children and their families – one of the prime audiences for such reporting – this might be the first time they’ve gone through the experience.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they’re on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. We also visit U.S. schools that are taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking the way they approach the idea of teacher improvement.
Researchers find evidence of systematic biases in teachers’ expectations for the educational attainment of black students. Specifically, non-black teachers have significantly lower educational expectations for black students than black teachers do when evaluating the same students. We cannot determine whether the black teachers are too optimistic, the non-black teachers are too pessimistic, or some combination of the two.
Imagine taking an English class with a teacher who struggles with writing and grammar.
That’s the type of instruction many students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools were getting in Spanish class, where teachers with Hispanic last names who spoke Spanish well enough to get by were being thrust into a role they weren’t trained for, according to recent articles by Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald.
With a critical shortage of teachers looming on the horizon, a perennial issue becomes more urgent. How well are America’s teachers prepared? Are future teachers ready for the first day of school? What is the evidence and should colleges of education and other training programs be held accountable?
While it may seem that every back-to-school story has been written, the well is far from dry. Are you following the blogs teachers in your district write? Have you amassed the data sets you’ll need to write that deep dive explaining why so many local high school graduates land in remedial classes when they first enter college?
No? It’s OK. You’re not alone.
Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.
Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in and learning from one’s mistakes, often summarized as noncognitive factors, are just some of the concepts floated more frequently these days. A new paper released this week seeks to provide clarity to this fast-growing discipline within the world of how students learn.
Rethinking Teacher Preparation: Empowering Local Schools to Solve California’s Teacher Shortage and Better Develop Teachers
Bellwether Education Partners
After years of cuts to the teaching workforce, California districts are beginning to hire again. This positive change is offset, however, by the fact that teacher preparation programs are producing fewer graduates than the state’s schools and districts want to hire. As a growing number of districts face teacher shortages, or the prospect of them, California needs new strategies to improve both the supply and the quality of new teachers prepared in the state.
Teacher Preparation Programs: Education Should Ensure States Identify Low-Performing Programs and Improve Information Sharing
United States Government Accountability Office
Among other things, GAO recommends that the Department of Education monitor states to ensure their compliance with requirements to assess whether any teacher preparation programs are low-performing and develop mechanisms to share information about TPP quality within the agency and with states.
Fifty years ago, the federal government enacted the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. The newest version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, became law 13 years ago and has stayed in place ever since. On Thursday, a new version of the federal government’s most far-reaching K-12 education law moved closer to adoption. The U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version, the Student Success Act.
How does student-centered learning change the pupil-teacher working relationship? And what do we know about the longterm benefits of the educational approach? We’ll hear from a student who has graduated from a school that was an early adopter of student-centered learning, as well as a student and teachers currently using it in their classrooms.
Reporters are sometimes afraid of numbers. But when it comes to pensions, this can be a problem. It means that they often write an incomplete story, giving voices to politicians who decry the size of teacher pensions. Or they’ll ignore pension stories entirely.
So it’s no surprise that the public often comes to erroneous conclusions—that teacher greed is the problem.
A data analysis by Education Week showed a decline in applicants to education schools in key states and Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuk walks participants through it. ACT’s Steve Kappler unveils a disturbing new report on a dropoff in high school graduates aspiring to teach. Other speakers review the implications of their findings and sources.
Why would young people today want to become teachers? Or perhaps more importantly, why wouldn’t they?
We all recognize teaching as an opportunity to change lives and remember the teachers who made a difference for us. But weigh that intrinsic satisfaction against low wages, little public respect and an ever-growing workload, and the minuses often win out. And now that a rebounding economy offers more professional options, our country faces a serious challenge to educating the next generation.
If teachers and principals want students on center stage in their classrooms, they’ll first have to do a lot of work backstage. However, as a panel of teachers and students told attendees at EWA’s recent National Seminar in Chicago, the return on investment can be substantial.
When Revere High School, outside Boston, began moving to a more student-centered approach, the educators didn’t expect an overnight miracle.
What’s most notable about the Chicago kindergarten class where assistant teacher Nichelle Bell is temporarily in charge is what is not happening. Teachers are not redirecting pupils, who are not off-task. Hands are not in other people’s spaces. Voices—those of children and adults—are not raised.
With an eye toward reducing turnover and improving student learning, districts nationwide are experimenting with “teacher residencies.” These programs, which provide intensive support to new teachers during the early years of their careers, are typically partnerships between schools of education and local districts. The idea is to better align the training with the on-the-job expectations.
Need a state or national statistic? There’s likely a federal data set for that. From fairly intuitive and interactive widgets to dense spreadsheets — and hundreds of data summaries in between — the U.S. Department of Education’s various research programs are a gold mine for reporters on the hunt for facts and figures.
Most students don’t study using methods backed by scientific research, panelists at the Education Writers Association’s deep dive on the science of learning told reporters in Chicago at the association’s 68th National Seminar.
“Why do people find learning so hard?” asked Henry Roediger, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who participated in the April event.
Despite previous reports that new teachers are ditching their professions in record numbers, new federal data suggest that a grand majority of novice classroom instructors are showing up for work year after year.
Eighty-three percent of rookie teachers in 2007 continued to educate public school students half a decade later, according to the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study. Ten percent of teachers left the field after just one year.
For teacher Merlinda Maldonado’s sixth graders at Hill Middle School in Denver, it’s not necessarily about getting the answer right. It’s not about memorizing procedures, either. If Maldonado’s classroom is clicking, frustration can be a good thing.
In a wide-ranging speech on educational opportunity, teacher quality, school funding and accountability delivered at the kickoff of the Education Writers Association’s 68th National Seminar, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner shared with reporters his vision for the future of education in the Prairie State.
EWA’s 68th National Seminar kicks off today in Chicago, and it’s going to be a fantastic three days of discussions, workshops, and site visits. The theme this year is Costs and Benefits: The Economics of Education. Be sure to keep tabs on all the action via the #EWA15 hashtag on Twitter.
Top Tweets from #EWAChoice’s first session
A bill that would make it easier for undocumented immigrants to obtain teaching licenses in Nevada will soon make its way to the state’s Assembly floor, various news outlets reported this week.
Over at EWA Radio, my colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn and I talked with Boston Globe education reporter Jamie Vaznis about a plan to expand learning time in that city’s elementary and middle schools. The Globe did its own analysis of a pilot program to add time to the academic calendar, and found mixed results.
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
The National Council on Teacher Quality has a new report out looking at teacher pension funds, which the advocacy group contends amount to a massive, underfunded liability for states.
Teacher pension debt now stands at nearly a half-trillion dollars, up about $1 billion from two years ago. (You can read my take on NCTQ’s 2012 report here.)
Among the takeaways from this year’s report:
Despite Reports to the Contrary, New Teachers Are Staying in Their Jobs Longer
Center for American Progress
Not only do our analyses show that since 2007, new teachers have been staying in the classroom at dramatically higher rates than is commonly understood, but they also show that teachers in high-poverty schools—defined here as those with more than 80 percent of students eligible for federally subsidized lunches—are staying at statistically similar rates as all beginning teachers. Teachers find high-poverty schools to be among the most challenging work environments, and they are somewhat more likely to leave teaching after working in a high-poverty school than in a lower-poverty school.
We have two new episodes of EWA Radio this week, looking at the hot-button stories on the education beat in the coming year.
When you write a blog, the end of the year seems to require looking back and looking ahead. Today I’m going to tackle the former with a sampling of some of the year’s top stories from the K-12 and higher education beats. I’ll save the latter for early next week when the final sluggish clouds of 2014 have been swept away, and a bright new sky awaits us in 2015. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)
For education beat reporters looking for story ideas next week, I wanted to offer a couple of suggestions.
First up: Do teachers in your district take on second jobs over the holidays to make ends meet, or to boost their Social Security retirement contributions?
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need?
What teachers are paid matters. Many factors play a role in making the decision to become a teacher, but for many people compensation heavily influences the decision not only to enter the profession but also whether to stay in it and when to leave. For teachers, knowing where salaries start and end isn’t enough; they must also understand the path they will take from starting salary to the top of the scale.
By his third year of teaching, Jonas Chartock was overwhelmed, acting as a department head and taking on a variety of other roles at his school in addition to his regular duties at the front of the classroom.
“What I could tell you is I wasn’t being trained to do any of them,” Chartock said.
Those experiences helped drive Chartock’s decision to leave the classroom and to pursue a career in education leadership outside the school.
On a recent Wednesday morning, 11th-grader Sophia Wellington took to the undersized stage at the front of her high school gym and with seamless poise demonstrated what smarter student assessment could look like.
In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called it “laughable” that in the prior decade the majority of states had failed to rate even one teaching preparation program as inferior. On Tuesday, the White House released draft accountability regulations that are no joke for the nation’s teacher colleges, and could result in a loss of federal funding if their graduates fail to do well on the job.
According to U.S. Department of Education projections, for the first time, black, Hispanic, Asian and other non-white students made up just over 50 percent of public school students. And that share is expected to increase in the coming years.
For education reporters looking for story ideas, talking to teachers is a smart place to start. That was the key takeaway from the “Performance and Perceptions: Taking the Pulse of the Profession” session at EWA’s recent seminar on the teaching profession, held last month in Detroit.
In the Minneapolis Public Schools, nearly two-thirds of the district’s enrollment are students of color. Additionally, 65 percent of the district’s more than 35,000 students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Beth Hawkins, a reporter for the MinnPost, had a hunch that the best-paid local teachers were working in the wealthiest schools, teaching white students. But this was just a guess, and her colleague at the nonprofit news site, data editor Tom Nehil, wanted to see the numbers.
If 49 multiplied by 5 is 245, why would a student think the answer is 405? And who is more likely to know this – a mathematician or an elementary math teacher?
Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (And How to Teach It to Everyone), posed this question to a roomful of education reporters at EWA’s October seminar in Detroit.
Education might seem more incendiary and political than ever before, but author Dana Goldstein argues that today’s biggest policy fights aren’t exactly new battles.
“We’ve been fighting about teachers for 175 years,” said Goldstein at EWA’s October seminar on teaching, held in Detroit. At the event, Goldstein discussed her new book, The Teacher Wars, published in September.
One outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections: Nevada can expect to retain the dubious distinction of having one of the nation’s lowest rates of per-pupil funding. A ballot measure that would have levied a new tax on large businesses to benefit public schools failed to garner support, with nearly eight out of 10 Silver State voters opposing it.
The midterm election results have big implications for education, from Republicans’ success in retaking the U.S. Senate to new governors coming in and a slew of education ballot measures, most of which were defeated.
The widely watched race for California’s schools superintendent came down to the wire, with incumbent Tom Torlakson edging out challenger Marshall Tuck — a former charter schools administrator:
Today is a day off from school for millions of students as campuses in some districts and states — including Michigan and New York — are converted into polling stations for the midterm elections. To Peter Levine, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, that’s a missed opportunity to demonstrate democracy in action.
Why are so many principals in Denver leaving their jobs? And what is the local school district doing to try and stem the churn? EWA Radio speaks with Katharine Schimel of Chalkbeat Colorado about her story looking into the high rate of principal turnover, and what it means for student learning and campus climate in the Mile High City.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball began her career as an elementary school teacher, working for 15 years with a diverse population of students. But math stumped her.
“That troubled me,” Ball said Oct. 21 during her keynote presentation at the EWA seminar on teaching held in Detroit. “I would work really hard on how could I make the math make sense to the students, … but on Fridays they would know how to do things and on Monday they would have forgotten.”
In a new Gallup survey of teachers, U.S. public school teachers are closely split in their overall reaction to the Common Core State Standards: 41% view the program positively and 44% negatively. Even in terms of strong reactions, teachers’ attitudes are divided, with 15% saying their perceptions of the initiative are “very positive” and 16% saying “very negative.”
As the nation centers its attention on the Common Core State Standards battle brewing across the states, a lesser known overhaul is underway for America’s teachers-to-be.
The stakes have arguably never been higher for public school teachers, who are facing not only an increasingly challenging student population but also new demands for accountability and performance. What lies ahead for the nation’s largest profession, with the rollout of new academic standards and new assessments to gauge how effectively students are being taught?
We had a terrific two days in Detroit this week at our journalists-only seminar on The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession. I’m looking forward to sharing content from the sessions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ve pulled together some of the best tweets from Tuesday (you can catch up with earlier tweets here):
How are cultural and racial biases influencing classroom instruction and student learning? What does this mean for teachers and students, particularly in high-minority, urban school settings? What should education reporters know about cultural bias as it relates to their reporting on students, teachers, and schools?
Associate Professor Dorinda Carter Andrews, Michigan State University
The agenda is up for our next journalists-only seminar – The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession: What Reporters Need to Know. As you’ll notice, we’re spotlighting the work of some of the nation’s top education writers. Among them:
Dana Goldstein, journalist for The Marshall Project, and author of the New York Times’ bestseller “The Teacher Wars: The History of America’s Most Embattled Profession.”
Marc Tucker, president and chief executive of the National Center on Education and the Economy, recently unveiled a proposed accountability plan for public schools that includes significantly reducing the number of tests students take, and building extensive professional development time for teachers into every school day. He spoke with EWA.
This First Look report provides some selected findings from the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) along with data tables and methodological information. The TFS is a follow-up of a sample of the elementary and secondary school teachers who participated in the previous year’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The TFS sample includes teachers who leave teaching in the year after the SASS data collection and those who continue to teach either in the same school as last year or in a different school.
We’re now accepting applications for our upcoming seminar: The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession: What Reporters Need to Know. The two-day event will be held Oct. 20-21 in Detroit.
Here’s the 411 (you can also take a look at the full agenda):
Gallup Poll: Americans Want ‘Bar Exam’ for Teachers, More Training
Support Slipping for Using Student Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations
In a new poll out today, Americans say they want teacher preparation programs to raise the bar for entrance, provide longer training periods for practice teaching, and require new teachers to pass a rigorous certification exam akin to the ones required of lawyers and doctors.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for EWA Radio, the podcast I co-host with my EWA colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn. In case you missed the most recent episodes, you can catch the replays. (I’ve been told we make a fine accompaniment to walking the dog, moderate-paced elliptical trainer activity and even the occasional lunchtime Greek yogurt consumption.)
EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn speak with Money Magazine education reporter Kim Clark about the publication’s first-ever college rankings, which focus on the return-on-investment factor of earning a degree from a particular institution.
A Chicago Tribune investigation turns up instances of lawmakers intervening in teacher licensing decisions on behalf of their friends and donors. Tribune education reporter Diane Rado speaks with EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about her ongoing coverage of licensing issues, and what it means for local students and schools.
Low teacher pay is not news. Over the years, all sorts of observers have argued that skimpy teacher salaries keep highly qualified individuals out of the profession. One recent study found that a major difference between the education system in the United States and those in other nations with high-performing students is that the United States offers much lower pay to educators.
The July 21 issue of The New Yorker takes us deep inside the Atlanta cheating scandal, and through the lucid reporting of Rachel Aviv, we get to know some of the teachers and school administrators implicated. We learn not only how and why they say they cheated, but also about the toxic, high-pressure environment they contend was created by Superintendent Beverly Hall’s overwhelming emphasis on improving student test scores.
With the Vergara v. California lawsuit shining a spotlight on teacher tenure, it’s easy to forget that for many places, tenure isn’t the issue. The bigger problem is too many new teachers just don’t stay.
Effective teaching has long been an issue of national concern, but in recent years focus on the effectiveness of programs to produce high-quality teachers has sharpened. Long-standing achievement gaps persist despite large-scale legislative changes at the federal and state levels, and American students
continue to show poorer performance on international tests compared to peers in other developed nations. These and other factors have resulted in the creation of new accreditation standards for teacher education programs. These
Oregon public schools are struggling to meet teacher diversity hiring goals set by the state Legislature. The state had set the goal of increasing the number of minority teachers by 10 percent between 2012 and 2015. But they are currently not on track to achieve that goal.
The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced a new initiative to increase the number of high-quality teachers working in low-income and predominantly minority schools.
According to the Obama administration, Latino students are three times as likely as white students to attend schools where more than 20 percent of the teachers are in their first year of teaching.
Many teachers — especially those in high-poverty urban and rural schools — say goodbye to the classroom by their fifth year on the job. While views vary on how serious a toll teacher turnover takes on U.S. schools, mitigating its downsides is a widely shared goal.
The nation’s public school teachers love their jobs, despite feeling underappreciated by society and facing enormous challenges in the workplace, according to a new international survey of educators.
If you’re wondering just how contentious a new set of rankings for the nation’s teacher preparation programs really are, consider this: the advocacy group that compiled them had to offer cash rewards to students for basic information such as syllabi when colleges and universities declined to provided them.
For decades teaching was considered a stable profession, with many individuals spending their entire careers at the front of the classroom. But the reality of a young teachers entering the teaching profession right out of school and only leaving when they retire is no more.
The subject of new teachers, and how long they’re staying in the profession, was the focus of a panel discussion at EWA’s 67th National Seminar in Nashville last month.
A California judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary decision finding that the state’s teacher tenure laws disproportionately hurt disadvantaged and minority students.
Los Angeles Judge Rolf M. Treu went as far as to write that the situation “shocks the conscience” and violated students’ civil rights. The lawsuit alleged that tenure and layoff policies hurt students by making it harder to get rid of bad teachers.
Several recent studies have examined the impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on school operations and student achievement. We complement that work by investigating the law’s impacts on teachers’ perceptions of their work environments and related job attitudes, including satisfaction and commitment to remain in teaching.
You’d think it would be clear when a teacher is absent from class, but the response to this week’s big report from the National Council on Teacher Quality has shown that not every district agrees on the definitions for excused absences, and that efforts to curtail them are having little effect. The report also exposes the debate over what impact these teacher absences have on student learning.
Avalon School in St. Paul, Minn. doesn’t have a defined leader, but it’s easy to see who is in charge.
Instead of having a traditional principal, the charter school is governed by a cooperative of the teaching staff that oversees decisions such as curriculum, budgets and training.
Teachers share administrative roles and work as a group to make decisions.
When Randi Weingarten gets depressed about the state of public education, she told attendees of EWA’s 67th National Seminar, she calls up memories of her students at the “We the People” competition in upstate New York a couple of decades ago.
AFT President Randi Weingarten discusses value-added teacher evaluation models with the Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten calls the Obama administration out for perceived hypocrisy in how it judges teacher preparation programs.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten talks support for Hillary Clinton, the possibility of a union-backed Republican candidate, and next year’s mayoral race in Chicago.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Geoff Decker of Chalkbeat New York asks Weingarten about the United Federation of Teachers contract and the how the proposed career-ladder model compares to other school districts. Recorded in May 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten takes a question on the possibility of a strike in Philadelphia at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Tenure reforms in NYC led to a substantial drop in the percent of eligible teachers approved for tenure – from 94 percent during academic years 2007-08 and 2008-09, the two years prior to the introduction of the policy, to 89 percent in the first year of the policy (2009-10) and to an average of 56 percent during the three subsequent years.
The vast majority of eligible teachers who were not approved for tenure had their probationary period extended. The proportion of teachers denied tenure changed only slightly, from two to three percent, following reform.